Thursday, February 19, 2009

i like big buts

(yes, big buts. not big butts.)

I had been planning a girl's night out at the movies for weeks. I had emailed 30 of my closest girl friends and requested that they save the date. I had stalked Fandango religiously, waiting for tickets to go on sale. We were going to see He's Just Not That Into You. (I mean $11.50 is a small price to pay for therapy like this, right!?) Because whether we're married or single. In a relationship or in something more complicated. I knew we could all agree that we've had a HJNTIY moment. We've all been there. We've all hoped for a phone call. We've all made excuses for someone. We've all, despite our better judgement, thought that we were the exception to the rule. And we've all lived to tell the tale.

So, buttery popcorn in hand, I anxiously awaited what I believed would be a refreshing, albeit a little painful, look at modern day dating. What I got (spoiler alert) was a Hollywood-inspired romantic comedy where, overall, the boy falls in love with the girl in the end. But wait! Isn't this movie called "He's Just Not That Into You"? Yes, I thought so.

What I loved about the book (yes, sadly I've read a majority of the chapters) was that it was resilient. It didn't let up on the message that if a guy doesn't act interested, it's probably because he's not. And won't ever be. So move on, sister. The book stressed that you are too great to be wasting your time on a guy that isn't spending the time on you. You're not going to convince him that you're wonderful. You shouldn't have to! If he doesn't get it, then it's his loss. And while that's quite a dose of tough love, it's what we need to hear.

But that's exactly where the movie let me down. Instead of walking away with that empowering message of resolution, the movie sent all of us single gals away with the message that if you hold on long enough, he'll come around. The very antithesis of everything the book had taught us! What made the book so revolutionary was that it didn't make excuses. It didn't watch out for our feelings. And it absolutely didn't tell us what we wanted to hear. It told us the cold, hard truth. The truth we like to think we're the exception to whenever possible. But like Greg so rightly reminded us in the book: we are not the exception to the rule. Apparently in Hollywood, that message is better told as: if you try hard enough, if you believe in it enough, you'll eventually be the exception.

It was the same way with Sex and the City. I mean, Big showed Carrie in every single way imaginable that was just not that into her and yet somehow they ended up happily ever after in the end. And they wonder why we, as otherwise intelligent girls, seem to always have a "but" on hand when it comes to the boys in our lives. "I know he doesn't call until Friday night at 12am, but that's just because he's so busy with work right now." "Sure, he hasn't asked me out on a date yet, but that's because he's scared of ruining our friendship." "No, he says he can't date me right now, but I know it's because he's still hurt from his last relationship."

In the end, the movie wasn't awful and it did have it's moments of hilarity, but I certainly didn't get the therapy I was bargaining for. Far from it. So, if you're going to hold on to anything from HJNTIY, hold on to the saying itself. Sure, it's hard to hear at times, but the quicker you learn to accept it and move on, the healthier and happier you'll be. And remember . . . you are not the exception to the rule. I repeat, you are not the exception. You are exceptional, but you are not the exception.

Words to live by.

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